The problem with a lot of EPs is that often times they're too short to really show off an artists ability, or sometimes too long and end up being mini albums with an abundance of filler. Sometimes, of course, they're just not very good. Adelaide based producer and percussionist Sirins, real name Elliot Zoerner, manages to avoid all three of these problems on his sophmore release, Familiar Exploration.
In just 15 minutes, Sirins manages to fuse his style of chillwave with touches of nu jazz and trip hop, resulting in four tracks all different in style, but bound together by a focus on melody and soundscapes.
Listening to Sirins debut EP, released in early 2014, shows how much he has grown as an artist. The five compositions on the debut were cliche, and the polar opposite of subtle. The jazz influences were in your face, horns blaring in a way that didn't quite mesh with the catchy enough beats underneath. Alongside these were bells and whistles turned up to 11, and a very out of place vocal sample in the vein of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, raving on about godlessness.
Familiar Exploration, however, ramps all of the good aspects up, and the bad aspects down. The opening track, 'Tak', harks back to a Bonobo sounding groove, with the addition of sparkling percussion, fading out in to a thick dub bass line. The use of vocals, too, on this track is a huge improvement. While they're just cries of "hey" or something similar sounding, they don't sound out of place or overpowering.
'Cheek' is perhaps the stand out track from the EP, presenting a style of nu jazz which sounds like a less crazily structured version of the kings of the genre, Mouse On The Keys. The simplicity of the phased piano on top of the hook laden bass and ambient electronics throughout make this track more than the sum of its parts.
The remaining two tracks, 'Barbarella' and 'Donnie Darco' (the track isn't quite as good as the film, but that's setting the bar a little high) show off more of Sirins' diversity. The former introduces some hip hop percussion with funk, and an ambient introduction and outro. The latter is all out trip hop, a track which wouldn't sound out of place in the discography of Portishead.
Familiar Exploration is extremely diverse, an impressive feat for such a short run time. The only real downfall to this release is that it feels a bit rough around the edges. Levels are at times a bit wonky, where some instruments power over the others a little too much, and it doesn't sound organic at times (then again, it is electronic music). You should keep your eyes and ears out for future releases from this producer, and if the improvement from the first EP to the second is continued, I'll be very impressed.
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